Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says his team must maintain a lengthy period of dominance in England and Europe in order to be compared with his former club FC Barcelona.
The English Premier League leaders have won the English League Cup in Guardiola’s second season in charge and are closing in on their first league title under the Spaniard.
They are virtually through to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League after a 4-0 win over Swiss side Basel in the first leg of their last 16 encounter last month.
Asked ahead of Wednesday’s return fixture at the Etihad Stadium if Manchester City were at the same level as La Liga leaders Barca, Guardiola was emphatic in his answer.
“No. It is not good to compare us with them. That team dominated the last 10 years. We just won our first title,’’ he said.
The 47-year-old Guardiola won 14 trophies in four seasons as a manager with FC Barcelona, including three league titles and two UEFA Champions League crowns.
“To be compared with these teams you have to be there for many, many years. We’ve just won one title,” he added.
Manchester City are 16 points clear of second-placed Manchester United in the league, needing just four wins from the final nine games to be sure of the title.
In spite of that, Guardiola said he would not shift his attention to securing European glory just yet.
“We are so close. I’m not going to say we are not going to win. We’re almost in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League and almost champions of the English Premier League. But football is not done until it is done.”
Even with a healthy advantage, Guardiola urged caution when his side take on Basel.
“It’s a UEFA Champions League game and the Champions League is something special. In football, anything is possible but we have to be calm and focused on what we have to do,” he said.(Reuters/NAN)